Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top This: National Tree Lighting

It's nearly impossible to turn down a good freebie - in this case it was a free star-studded concert to ring in the holiday cheer. Oh and lets not forget, the First Family dropped in to light the National Christmas tree too.

This event is such a blast, when I was in college, we’d get a group of like-minded yahoos together and camp out every November for tickets. But that was when the Starbucks was in my building, and the White House was just a few blocks further down.

The last few Novembers the deadline came and it just sort of fell off the traditions list.

This year though, the Park Service asked if we wanted to cover it for the station, and a colleague of mine was a newbie to the whole extravaganza. It’s one of those things every Washingtonian should do at least once, so the two of us decided to go for it.

But sitting outside on a frigid press riser (still the best seats in the house), I remembered quickly why I hadn’t been in so long…who wants to sit outside in the cold when CBS has the whole thing on prime time Teevee – HD if you’re fancy. This year I had been lured by Maroon 5, Sarah Barellis, little baby Jackie Evancho, Ingrid Michaelson, and of the great BB King. And if the King can do it without handwarmers, damn-it so can we.

Hosted by Common, the hip-hop star through the program, while my colleague Amanda and I sat in the 20 degree wind. While WTOP's Man About Town, Bob Madigan reported from his ipad, Miss America (aka Miss Va.) Caressa Cameron tried her best to warm up the crowd, and the two of us shivered and snapped photos for the website, attempting to look like we were working.

I also noticed a big difference from the Bush years - The Obama family actually sat with the crowd, as opposed to sitting behind the bullet proof glass. Not sure what to make of that that - is he any more safe than his predecessor - or if it was just a gutsy PR move.

But for all my bitching – it was totally worth it…and I did tuck away a few reminders for next year… (clearly I didn’t think to do this after Inauguration 2009 coverage) must remember - handwarmers, blankets, thermals, flask).

When we stood up after the show to start interviewing the crowd - I couldn't feel my legs - I knew they hurt - but I couldn't feel them. Is that what frostbite feels like? The King must have had a flask.

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